Review & Photo Gallery: The Wood Brothers at Buckhead Theatre – 11/13
Atlantans are always thrilled when Oliver Wood’s back in the neighborhood. Wood spent his formative musical years inside the Perimeter (and beyond) performing with his first blues-rock outfit, King Johnson – Named after his two influencers, B.B. King & Lonnie Johnson.
They were regulars at the dark and divey Northside Tavern, toured coast-to-coast, and collaborated with guitar greats such as Derek Trucks. A steady cult-like following quickly caught on. After a decade together, King Johnson split to pursue new sounds. This enabled Oliver to reunite with his brother Chris, they laid down a few tracks together, and at long last, The Wood Brothers clicked.
Last week, Buckhead Theatre was packed to the brim; we knew we were in for a treat. The rhythmic baseline of “Never and Always,” a single off their brand new studio album, Paradise, marched the trio onstage to a proper welcoming roar.
Throughout Paradise, Susan Tedeschi’s vocals and Derek Trucks’ slide complement an Americana album that’s sure to take home ‘Best of 2015’. Just one string pluck in and it already felt like we’d all been friends for a long time. On top of the smooth accompaniment of Chris Wood’s veneer-chipped upright bass, Oliver Wood’s raspy, decipherable voice expressed gratitude towards his old stomping grounds.
A traditional woodsy set ensued with hand-thumping percussion from their secret weapon, Jano Rix. His go-to instrument (and my favorite new word)? The Shuitar. It means exactly what it sounds like. A “really shitty guitar that was turned into a percussion instrument.” A Kick drum, snare drum, cross stick, symbols and other crazy frills, all in one. His multi-instrument support carts the trio’s distinctive sound full circle.
The harmonized exchanges on “Honey Jar” off The Muse were an instant crowd pleaser. “You put your lips out in the wind and you hope you get some kissing back.” The crowd wooed. Then something unexpected at a Wood show: Electric instruments accompanied a new track, “Without Desire”. Yes, the majority of their songs are acoustic, but there’s a lot of rock ‘n’ roll in the brothers Wood. They do this often on the new Paradise album just to reiterate that their twang is often boundless. A handful of notables included: “When I was Young” from Smoke Ring Halo, “Luckiest Man” from their debut album Ways Not to Lose, and an “Ophelia” closer that surely made Levon smile.
For Oliver, “The old neighborhood just ain’t the same,” but we’re mighty excited to see The Wood Brothers’ recent success. Their music and dedication constantly reward any and every type of listener, which is prevalent on Paradise. Just like the album art suggests: The donkey is hungry and the carrot is just that sweet.